$3.95 Daily

The average cost of residential electric service is under four dollars per day once again. 

The Labor Department releases results semi-annually from its massive Consumer Expenditure Survey of ten to twenty thousand households. And it did so last week for the twelve-month period through December 2016.

Americans' electric bills now average $3.95 daily. For the twelve-month period through December 2015, the prior year, the average was $4.00. So bills dropped by a nickel.

As usual, the averages vary substantially based on region. 

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Americans in the West pay $3.36 daily for residential electric service on average. Those in the Midwest average $3.57. Those in the Northeast average $3.65.

Those in the South average $4.63. Due to the greater use of air-conditioning, the South's average is always above the national average. 

And, as usual, the averages vary substantially based on income.

Consider, for example, households in the West with income before taxes below fifteen thousand dollars. Their electricity cost averaged around two dollars daily in 2015 - 2016. Western households with income above seventy thousand, in contrast, averaged twice that, around four dollars daily. 

Then consider households in the Northeast. Those with income below fifteen thousand dollars averaged a bit less than two dollars daily in 2015 - 2016. Northeastern households with income above seventy thousand averaged more than twice that, around four dollars and seventy cents daily. 

There are also large differences between renters and homeowners, and between those in the central city and in rural areas.

Nationally, the electric bills of households that rent average $2.75 daily. While homeowners average $4.66.

The electric bills of households in the central city average $3.38 daily. While those in rural areas average $4.81.

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Number-crunching and insights courtesy of Public Utilities Fortnightly. For more, see the ten-page Quant Services pullout in every mid-month PUF 2.0.

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly

E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com